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Submitted: 12-13-2000 by M. N. Smith

I bought a plastic Eclipse in August after trying about every competitor I could imagine, and the composite version of the same (the composite was my favorite kayak to date, but the tab was a little more than I could handle this year). I have had my new eclips out on Monterey bay, some large and choppy lakes, and various quiet waters. I loved it from the start for its sleek design, non-plastic colors (this is the ocean blue & granite job), and lots of finishing touches that its competitors simply didn't have, like really sturdy carrying handles, a large and nicely padded seat and solid keel bar. The tradeoff for all this, of course, is considerable weight and consequent loading/unloading problems if one is going solo. Once in the water, however, this is one smooth and sleek boat. It felt tippy at first, and I only recently began to test its limits of final stability. I was most pleasantly surprised. You can really muscle this boat into and out of tight turns and brace well in heavy chop. The relatively high cockpit sheds water nicely. I'm still not quite sure how it stacks up for speed. Of the other plastic boats I tried, I believe only the Looksha IV was as fast. However, the composite Eclipse is probably a faster boat. In periodic sprints, it really moves. I truly believe that this is the best all-around combination among plastic kayaks.
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